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Over 300,000 vulnerable Gambians will benefit from UN emergency support, a press release from UNICEF office in The Gambia, obtained by Mansa Banko, disclosed.
Below is the text of the full release:
Banjul, The Gambia, 30 March, 2012 – In the wake of the 2011 drought in the country, the UN System in The Gambia announces today its commitment to provide immediate humanitarian support and recovery assistance to over 300,000 vulnerable populations in the most affected 19 districts, out of the 25 affected regions, of the country.
This response begins in April 2012 and will cover the length of the lean season, from March to September 2012.
“We should be ready at all times to manage both present and future climate-related risks to ensure that the vulnerable are protected from hunger and disease. The Gambia, together with its development partners including the UN, continues to develop capacities to reduce underlying factors of vulnerability to climate-change.
Until these capacities are in place, the UN System in The Gambia is fully poised and committed to support the National Disaster Management Governing Council in fulfilling its mandate,” stated Ms Chinwe Diké, Resident Coordinator for the UN System in The Gambia.
The UN System responded to the call of The Gambia Government for emergency response support following the national declaration of crop failure in early March 2012. Four key areas identified for priority interventions by the UN are:
1.Food Security and Nutrition,
2.Water,Sanitation and Hygiene,
3.Health interventions, including HIV and the prevention of disease outbreaks, and
4.Rehabilitation of the productive capacity of those affected.
To date, the UN System in The Gambia has mobilized a total of US$ 4.8 million through the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and contributions from the different UN Agencies. These funds are required to urgently respond to the livelihood and health constraints of the vulnerable populations, in particular, children, women, and farmers as well as livestock.
Erratic rains in 2011 resulted in a significant drop in crop production, which left poor farming households with a maximum of three months food supply to sustain them until the next harvest. Many households and communities are forced to survive on just one meal a day while selling off their livestock and eating seeds and grains, initially set aside for the next planting season. More than 67,000 children under the age of five, over 26,000 pregnant and lactating women, and over a quarter of a million farmers are affected.
The UN System will continue to work hand in hand with other aid organisations in the country to mitigate this emergency.
For more information on the UN’s support to the crisis, please contact:
Ms Vitoria Ginja, WFP Country Representative, The Gambia; Tel: 220 44 94 783; E-mail: email@example.com